Godfrey man claims he fell in sink hole caused by Ameren

Kelly Holleran Aug. 31, 2010, 2:17am

A Godfrey man claims he fell in his front lawn after tripping in a sink hole caused by Illinois Power Co.

Jason Wendle filed a lawsuit Aug. 19 in Madison County Circuit Court against Illinois Power, doing business as Ameren IP, and Central Illinois Public Service Co., doing business as Ameren CIPS.

Wendle claims his troubles began when he smelled a gas leak in his front lawn at 2706 Greenwood Lane in Godfrey in May 2009.

Concerned, Wendle called Ameren. After declaring the situation an emergency, Ameren immediately fixed the gas line, digging about six feet into Wendle's front lawn, according to the complaint.

Before the gas company left that night, Ameren placed a barricade in Wendle's front lawn, but promised to return in a few weeks to repair Wendle's lawn, the suit states.

Two months passed, and still Ameren had not returned, the complaint says.

Wendle claims he decided to mow his lawn on July 7, 2009, and mowed to the side of one of the barricades when he fell in a sink hole.

Because of his fall, Wendle wrenched and bruised his knee, sustained a torn meniscus requiring surgery and experienced back pain, according to the complaint. In addition, Wendle suffered great physical pain and mental anguish, incurred hospital bills, has been unable to perform his usual duties, endured disability and lost his normal life, the suit states.

Wendle blames Ameren for causing his fall, saying Ameren negligently failed to follow policies regarding the repair of Wendle's lawn and failed to timely fix the area.

In his two-count complaint, Wendle seeks a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs.

Michael P. Glisson of Williamson, Webster, Falb and Glisson in Alton will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-861.

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